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Lost in Navigation

The various projects documented here were developed as part of the course „Lost in Navigation“ under the direction of Prof. Myriel Milicevic.

The documentation is divided into three major parts: the semester project „Empathy Park“ (in cooperation with Steffi Lüthen), navigation inspired by nature (also in cooperation with Steffi Lüthen) and Three navigation devices (in cooperation with Leon Wolff).

Empathy Park


Today, industrialized countries are about to introduce a new data network standard - the 5G network. The areas of application seem almost limitless, because 5G means the transmission of huge amounts of data in real time. It is the promise of prosperity in the 21st century.

But the invisible magic also has its dark sides. The scientific community worldwide urgently warns against introducing the new standard uncritically. The radiation can have significant effects on biological organisms such as humans, animals and plants. As people who introduce this new standard, we also have a responsibility to those who cannot articulate and contradict. And as designers, we have a responsibility to the society and environment in which we live. And as designers we have a responsibility to the society and environment in which we live.


Radiation can neither be seen, heard nor haptically experienced. It cannot be tasted or smelled. Only physical consequences can be felt. Animals with their finely equipped sensory apparatus are particularly affected. Starting with the smallest ones like insects, amphibians and birds to mammals like beloved pets cat and dog.

Our concept pursues the goal of increasing people's empathy for the animal world. It is aimed at so-called decision makers. The Empathy Park is a place where people can experience on their own body what 5G radiation feels like for different species. Data is collected and mapped onto a map.

These maps, which are generated on the basis of data collection, enable experts to make an informed decision about where and how extensively the new standard can be introduced. The ultimate goal is to create an adequate basis for decision-making that leads to an environment worth living in for all beings.


Methods & Approach

Once we had decided on the topic of radiation effects through 5G, we began to implement the concept through extensive visual research. We created a mood board in Figma on which we collected and selected visual models for different media, such as the posters, photo shoots, etc.

Once we had formulated the idea of an empathy helmet and determined the species we wanted to focus on, we got the plans for polygon masks. With the help of a fellow student from the 3D printing workshop, we had the great opportunity to have a 3D body scan done. We could then easily import the edited scans into Cura and print them on the FHP 3D printers (Creality Mini).

The next step was the two photo shoots. We photographed the poster models at Karl's Strawberry Farm to capture the atmosphere of a farm. The second photo shoot took place in the photo studio of FHP. Here we photographed the polygon masks and a miniature of the Empathy Park. In addition, we printed 3D architectural models.

The final step was to create the final versions of the photos, as well as the three posters and the explanatory pictures that visually represent the concept.

Design & Implementation

The empathy helmet is equipped with sensors for all five senses: head (touch), eyes (sight), nose (smell), mouth (taste), ears (hearing). 

Input is the 5G radiation and output is the disturbance of the five senses. Small hammers knock on the head, nozzles give off unpleasant smells to the nose, LEDs blind the eyes, small boxes send an unbearable beeping to the ears and taste nozzles spread an unpleasant taste in the mouth.

The empathy helmet is worn within the Empathy Park. The radiation is emitted in the whole park, in all buildings and rooms in various strengths. The user navigates through the park along his own well-being.

Sensor data from the helmet, as well as other sensors that can be optionally attached to the body, map the user's well-being or stress levels and map them to the map of the park. At the end of the process, a map is created that provides information about what radiation exposure is reasonable and what is not reasonable for the respective animal.




Above all, the project has shown that man is a sensual being and therefore the body matters. From the perspective of a future interface designer I understood why it is so often said that the interface does not necessarily have to be a pixel-based display.


Through the intensive work on the project, I understood the importance of a well thought-out concept. Without a coherent concept in which the individual parts logically interlock, it is difficult to put individual elements in relation to each other.

Another insight for me is the enormous importance of visual models. It's much easier to work with a mood board that visually outlines the direction the project is going. For example, how well staged miniature photography looks like.

The extensive work with 3D printing technology was real fun and has become a permanent part of my visual expression repertoire.

And last but not least - without a high investment of time, no good overall visual result, even if the concept should be very good. Both belong together. It is banal, but now also part of my personal, emotional experience.


Pine Cone Navigation


Nature is one of the most important sources of inspiration for mankind. The project „Pine Cone Navigation“ is about being inspired by a living being and its sense of orientation. The navigation of the selected organism is to be transferred to an input-output system using Arduino as the control software and sensors (light, temperature, sound, etc.) as well as actuators (motors, rotors, LEDs, etc.)

Method & Approach

The method used was to create a prototype. The project was scheduled to last only one week, so the prototype was primarily concerned with functionality rather than aesthetics or production quality.

In Arduino, with the help of a fellow student, we wrote a short code based on if-then conditions. For the physical form of the prototype we used the following techniques, among others: laser cutter, 3D print and decorative items.

Design & Implementation

In nature, the pine cone is oriented towards warmth, among other things. When it is cold, the cone remains closed. In spring, when it gets warmer, it opens slowly until the seeds that were hidden in the cone fall out.

The prototype is equipped on the input side with a temperature sensor that continuously measures the room temperature. The output is a small motor (a so-called stepper) that can rotate 360 degrees.

The code says that as soon as it gets warmer or equal 27 degrees, the motor starts to rotate (clockwise), ideally for a period of 2 seconds and then stops. There is a thread on the motor which, as it turns, winds up a thread from which a garland hangs. By spinning, the garland is pulled up, it unfolds and releases the beads it contains. If it gets colder than 27 degrees, the motor turns (anticlockwise) and the cone closes again.

With this prototype navigation device, you can orient yourself according to the warmth. For example, you could determine which rooms of a building are warmer than 27 degrees if you are cold.


The project was a good exercise in physical computing. The individual manufacturing techniques worked well together, even if the final result is not very aesthetically pleasing.

What I found particularly clear was what working with libraries means. Because both the Arduino code and the motor attachment in the form of a spindle come from ready-made data libraries. My own work consisted of researching the libraries and correctly integrating them into my own workflow.


Personally, I found the approach to orientate oneself on nature and to transfer a certain mode of operation to physical computing exceptionally good! Unfortunately I am not satisfied with the implementation. Unfortunately, there simply weren't enough expert tutors who could have provided support, especially in programming. This made the work on the prototype unnecessarily time-consuming and it was not possible to pay the same attention to aesthetics as to programming.


Three navigation devices


Navi-No - lose yourself completely

You would like to get lost, lose your way, not plan anything, but you do not know how - this is where the Navi-No comes into play. It is a navigation device that helps the user to go unknown ways. The device can give directions and instructions and generate randomness.

At a self-determined time, the Navi-No signals itself by lighting up the large LED and saying „Here we go, please switch off the mobile phone now“.

After a while, the second, yellow LED lights up and the Navi-No asks you to turn the compass. The compass needle can snap into place at different magnetic points in the physical interface. Depending on the point you get the announcement what to do. E.g. „Go to the next stop in the north and get on the second train that is coming. Travel five stops.“ The device uses all kinds of digital traces left by the user on the Internet as input, which it collects using the „horn“ and deduces where the person does not know his/her way well and therefore could get lost. Another way of interaction is to meditate on the device along the „meditation wave“ (similar to a rosary).

At the end of the process, the blue LED lights up and the announcement „You getting lost is over. You can turn your phone on again“.

Reflection of the work process

This exercise was about building a navigation device inspired by materials. I liked the process of putting together parts that initially have nothing to do with each other and connecting them with a story. It reminded me of the „body storming“ method and the approach of understanding a problem using something other than pure thinking.


Tassen Maps

Tassen Maps - Hot or cold, we'll take you there

The cup guide guides the user either to a warm place ( in case of cold hands) or to fresh air ( in case of warm hands) depending on the hand temperature.

The cup guide communicates with various room sensors such as heaters, thermostats, electronic door locks, etc. In other words, it uses the Internet of Things (IoT). After the cup guide has successfully measured the user's hand temperature, it guides the person through the building by means of illuminated LEDs.

Reflection of the working process

In this exercise I particularly liked the approach of rethinking a mundane everyday object. The things we surround ourselves with in our daily lives influence us - aesthetically, supporting, helping. That a cup takes care of my well-being and brings me out into the fresh air, for example, is a beautiful idea.


Bonefinder for Eusapia

Go find your kin

The Bonefinder is a navigation device for Eusapia, the city of the dead - a city that has created an exact copy of itself underground to keep its deceased. The corpses deposited there by the brotherhood are posed according to their dream professions and brought to a suitable location – e.g. a singer on a stage.

In order to visit a deceased person and to commemorate them, as a resident of Eusapia you have the opportunity to use our Bonefinder once.

As soon as the device has been handed over by the brotherhood, the user has to pay a fee with his/her blood. Once the Bonefinder is activated, the dead residents will assist to find the way to a relative by pointing their hands in the right direction.

Reflection of the work process

The book „Invisible Cities“ by Italo Calvino was an inspiring reading. Cities that do not exist in this form, full of contradictions and logical breaks. Reflecting together on a possible navigation in the underworld in times of Google Maps was great fun. For me it was a liberating exercise that combined freedom and logic.


Class evaluation

Class Reflection



Art des Projekts

Studienarbeit im ersten Studienabschnitt


foto: Prof. Myriel Milicevic foto: Felix Tesche

Zugehöriger Workspace

Lost in Navigation


Wintersemester 2019 / 2020


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